News Archive
February 2023 Exhibit

February 2023 Exhibit
Northern Light

Paintings by George Wilson

In celebration of the return of FisherPoets Gathering, we are pleased to welcome back George Wilson, a commercial fisherman and professional artist. Wilson who comes from a generational fishing family in Scotland now resides in Portland. His love of water, merging where sky meets shore is ever present in soothing and dreamlike watercolor paintings. For this series Wilson continues in true fashion bringing ethereal paintings, focusing on landscape, flora and fauna etched within memory. The exhibition Northern Light opens Saturday, February 11th from 5:00 – 8:00 pm and will remain on display through March 6th. George Wilson will be in attendance from 5:00 – 7:00 pm as well as the delightful duo Weird Fishes, comprised of Graham Nystrom and Celeste Olivares performing acoustic music.

For George Wilson, waterways are essential to life. Born into a fishing family in a small coastal Scottish village, he was raised on and around Moray Firth, an inlet of the North Sea. Wilson’s relationship to water has always been a part of his existence, as well as a source of livelihood. His work is infused with his experiences as a fisherman, bringing the beauty of solitude as surveyor of land, water and its inhabitants. His profound connection has culminated in an enchanting series of paintings that serve as visual poetry to places he has known, reflecting shoreline and its ever-changing edges as weather fronts work to shape and define.

For this series he brings serene landscapes depicting his love of terrain of places he’s known. The saturation of pigment on paper gently pools, emulating the climate and impact of atmospheric quality. Trees, lush with life dot hillsides held by waterways. As a fisherman, Wilson’s work is framed by the importance of where land and sky meet. He shares with the viewer his love of the land with dreamlike renditions of places that resonate with a deep and rooted sense of nostalgia. About this series he reflects, “I am thinking about Northern Oceans today; of haar (sea fog) and the call of the kittiwake; of pink blushing dawns, long daylight hours and blazing sunsets. I know the Northern Light of Scotland and Alaska. I’ve seen it dancing on the Moray Firth and on the Shelikof Strait. I have seen it at the end of the day dipping behind the peaks of Morven and behind the snow-capped mountains of the Alaskan Peninsula. It is memory and longing, familiar yet far away.”

Wilson who has painted as long as he’s fished, eventually found himself entering the academic world with studies at Gray’s School of Art, one of the United Kingdom’s most prestigious art schools located in Aberdeen, Scotland. After graduating with a focus on painting and drawing, he found his way back to the sea where his time was shared between fishing trips and the studio. His work is a beautiful balance of both worlds with one love always merging with the other.

January 2023 Exhibit

January 2023 Exhibit
Aaron Johanson
The Biopsy Revisited
January 14 – February 6
During the month of January, we welcome the photographic work of Aaron Johanson who brings twenty stunning black and white prints that he created in his Portland studio. The series, titled The Biopsy Revisited is a fusion of the past and the present, created over a twenty-year span focusing on Johanson’s deft use of lighting and traditional printing techniques through compositions based on botanical imagery. Aaron Johanson will be at the gallery and available to answer questions about his work Saturday, January 14 from 5 – 7 pm. The exhibition will remain on view through February 6th.

This series, The Biopsy Revisited, originally inspired some time ago when a neighbor of Johanson’s left a desiccated Dollar plant at his door. The structural transparency became a source of intrigue, inspiring a series of photographs based on leaves of all forms of decomposition. Some of the images created then, dating back to 2000 were exhibited and then relegated to Johanson’s personal archives. He has since revisited that body of work and reconsidered its importance compositionally while going through his own journey through cancer treatment. The work, created so long ago took on a new meaning. About the series he states: “I titled this exhibition The Biopsy Revisited after having a biopsy performed. I saw these leaf samples — detached from their life source, some dead, some dying, other looking very much alive — as similar to a biopsy performed for medical evaluation. Both are based on living tissue. It is interesting to me how our personal experiences shape our perception of the world.”
By isolating his subject matter and stripping it down to its bare essentials, Johanson lets us appreciate natural form through the inherent beauty of large format, traditional black and white film photography. He revisited what was created twenty some years ago in preparation for this exhibition and scanned the negatives to see how digital prints might differ from his original prints. The series will include both his traditional printed work alongside his digitally printed images, based on film exposed around 2000. This series depicts the incredible delicateness of form in an intimate and parred down way, imagery floating in space, held in careful study by the eye behind the lens. Johanson’s sense of composition is deliberate yet tender.

Johanson who was born into a creative family, his father being the late George Johanson, acclaimed printmaker, and educator, became hooked on photography as a teenager after receiving his first camera as a gift. During his studies at University of Oregon and studying under Willie Osterman he had the opportunity to visit Ansel Adams, tour his home and darkroom along with a portfolio critique. He was hooked and knew that was his future. After several apprenticeships at large commercial photography studios in Portland, followed by years of travel he landed a job in a Japanese publishing firm as the only foreign staff photographer. His assignments took him throughout Japan, a dream job for any photographer. In 1996 he returned home to Portland and opened a commercial studio, taking on newspaper and magazine work which eventually led to his specialization in photography of artwork. Johanson has photographed the work of several Imogen represented artists over the years.
Beyond his success as a commercial photographer, his personal work as an artist has been exhibited from Portland to Tokyo, including a solo exhibition at the Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art in Japan. His work is included to many private, corporate and museum collections such as the Hallie Ford Museum and the Portland Art Museum.

December 2022 Exhibit

December 2022 Exhibit
Hook, Pulp & Weave
A celebration of fiber as art

We’re excited to host the annual Hook, Pulp and Weave once again, a rich and diverse invitational exhibition exploring fiber as art, opening in conjunction with Astoria’s Artwalk, Saturday December 10th. Always a favorite exhibition at Imogen, this year’s annual exhibition will not disappoint. Functional and nonfunctional work will be included in this unique exhibition of textile-based arts. Color, texture, and composition form the backbone of this diverse collection designed with the gift giving season in mind. Included to the diverse array is the extraordinary “crochet paintings” by Jo Hamilton, “vegan taxidermy” by Marjorie Taylor, wall hung linear space fiber drawings by Kimberly Lakin, wall hung art and throw pillows by Pamela Chipman, nuno felted scarves and wraps by Julie Kern Smith, needle felted wool sculpture by Patti Breidenbach, abstract wall hung fiber art of Susan Circone, intricate needle woven beaded jewelry by Celeste Olivares, large scale needle felted figurative sculpture by Amelia Santiago, paper cut assemblages by Kathy Karbo and the whimsical mushroom sculpture of Kim Tepe. Join us in celebrating the season with the artists, Saturday 12/10, 5 – 8 pm. The exhibition will remain on view through January 9.

Fiber based art has a long running history, with weaving techniques dating back to Neolithic times some 12,000 years ago. It is respected as one of the oldest surviving craft forms in the world that evolved from multiple cultures, including the Incans who utilized textiles as currency, which held a more prominent role then gold for trade. Native Americans, for centuries have created elaborate basketry for all uses, including vessels that were watertight, made from regionally known plant materials. Middle Eastern nomadic tribes, have been respected for intricate hand knotted rugs made of wool and silk, dating back over 4000 years, and the rich illustrative tapestries of the 14th and 15th centuries of European cultures, all helped to forge what we appreciate as textile-based art today. The term “fiber arts” came to be applied much later; post World War II with the insurgence of the craft movement. With this came the recognition of craft as fine art and the diminished idea of utilitarian needs. 

Hook, Pulp & Weave is a collection of just a few examples of what textile or fiber art has evolved into. With the lessening of the importance of function, and the consideration of pure artistic expression being delivered through the fiber medium, artists have found a new voice to explore ancient arts, utilizing texture, color, and form. While some of the work included to this exhibition is functional, many pieces are based strictly on the principle of art form, utilizing fiber to create compelling and complex pieces.

We welcome back the intricate wall hung abstract compositions of Susan Circone from Portland. Her imagery places focus on subtle use of texture, pattern, and color. Coming from a career in geological sciences, her compositions are inspired by nature. Circone’s work explores the minutiae of the physical and natural world. She finds inspiration in the structures, textures, and forms observed in both organic and inorganic matter. The importance of the mundane and the microscopic, ignored, unseen, and often ephemeral, is a reminder of our temporal existence.

Pamela Chipman also from Portland is known primarily as a photographer. It was during the lockdown in 2020 that she began exploring with transferring her art to fiber during the pandemic. Experimenting with sun activated fiber dyes, she creates fabric prints from her negatives and local plant materials. She includes both wall hung pieces as well as gorgeous art pillows from her silhouette figurative photography and botanical imagery.
Celeste Olivares of Astoria brings a new collection of her intricately needle woven beaded necklaces and earrings. Each piece is an exotic one-of-a-kind design utilizing semi-precious stones, vintage glass, and crystal, often incorporating found objects. She exquisitely combines brilliant color and form with a result of timeless and original jewelry pieces.

We are also excited to welcome back the needle felted sculpture of Astoria’s Amelia Santiago. Her lifelike large scale figurative sculpture is created with careful attention to detail. She creates solid wool sculpture by hand, a painstaking process of forming felted wool through needle work into realistic creatures. Also working in needle felted wool are the small figurative sculptural pieces by Patti Breidenbach. Breidenbach brings a series of tiny dancers atop music boxes. Her new series is titled “Love is Love”.

Julie Kern Smith of Porland, returns with her rich and sophisticated wraps made of nuno felted wool and repurposed silk from vintage scarves and kimonos. Her choice of materials is exquisitely brought together through fusion of fiber, creating elegant and tactile wearable art forms. We also welcome back the delightful 3-d hand painted, paper cut assemblages of Kathy Karbo.

We welcome back the work of Marjorie Taylor. Taylor, creates what she calls “Vegan Taxidermy” that she describes as “animal replicas that are a mix of realism and fantasy.” Her one of kind sculptural pieces are made from recycled needlepoint, faux fur, chenille, beads, and ribbon. She proudly states, “there are no animal parts of any kind used in the construction.”

This year we are proud to include the work of 3 new fiber artists, Jo Hamilton brings her “crochet paintings”, large scale wall hung works created from yarn that she has crocheted. She brings a series of buildings/cityscapes as well as an extraordinary larger than life Man Moth. Her work is currently on display at the Portland airport and included to the permanent collection of the Portland Art Museum.  

Kim Lakin includes her large-scale wall hung linear space drawings. She enjoys working with fiber medium for its tactile and sculptural qualities, describing it as the line between two and three dimensions.

Also new to Imogen are the delightful terrariums of Kim Tepe. Focusing on the natural world she brings the forest floor and all that grows from it, creating with mixed fabrics and stitching, intricate replicas of mushroom life. 

November 2022 Exhibit

November 2022 Exhibit
Facing You   
Our 8th annual invitational portraiture exhibition

Pippa Arend, Reed Clarke, Denise Monaghan, Timothy Peitsch, Amelia Santiago, Ruth Shively and Aaron Toledo

Imogen is pleased to be presenting its eighth annual invitational exhibition exploring humanity through portraiture. This year’s exhibition will include the paintings of Portland based artists Pippa Arend, Reed Clarke and Ruth Shively as well as local Astoria talent of Denise Monaghan, Timothy Peitsch, Amelia Santiago, and Aaron Toledo; all exploring the essence of humanity. This evocative collection moves beyond a surface glance of an individual, inviting the viewer a step closer and to consider the underlying. Perhaps even to see ourselves through the eyes of others and what it means to be a part of humankind. Each portrait tells a story; we invite you to take part. The exhibition opens during Astoria’s Second Saturday Artwalk, November 12th, 12:00 – 8:00 pm and will be on view thru December 5th. Artists will be at the gallery from 5 – 7 pm, November 12 and available to answer questions about their work.

Many artists at some point in their career have placed focus on the human form as subject matter, for some it’s a practice of study, for others it’s a means to participate with humanity on a more intimate level. All seven of these artists fall into that category. Portraiture becomes a vehicle utilized to explore deeper reflection of who we are and what we convey via nonverbal communication, simply by stance, expression, or direction of gaze. These artists, all incredibly skilled with chosen medium bring suggestion of story and history through portrayal of individuals.  

This year we are honored to include the work of two artists new to Imogen. Pippa Arends from Portland and Denise Monaghan of Astoria. They both bring work that honors specific individuals. Pippa Arend, the cofounder of p:ear, a nonprofit supporting homeless youth, brings three bold and energetic portraits of individuals she’s known through her work with p:ear. After 20 years of working with this population of youth she has come away with a strong perspective on what sets these young people apart. About this and the work she includes to the exhibition she states, “Some believe that people get what they deserve. Others think we receive only as much we can handle. All meted out through some act of karma or divine judgment. Such thinking ignores the whimsical nature of luck, good, bad or none. In this show, titled “FACING YOU,” I invite you to look into the eyes and lives of these faces—Jupiter, Oddessa, Kayla. These three strong, lovely, exquisite people have been dealt difficult hands, and they’ve played them with various amounts of skill and, yes, luck. I believe in luck, in all its light and dark, in its profound power to make or break a life. Which is why I also believe in compassion. For me, drawing has always been a path to empathy and compassion. WHO is this person behind those eyes? How does that taut cheek feel from the inside? WHY is that the posture they project? Is that smirk I see grimace or grin? For this body of work, I’ve created three portraits of p:ear youth, based on their own mugshots. The conversations we shared while searching for the photos were hilarious and raw, as revelatory as the narratives radiating from their faces. The youth I worked with for those 20 years at p:ear struggled, some to the end of their ropes. My intention here is to reflect their tenacious journeys as well as the luck they fled and the fortune they found.”

A portion of the proceeds from Pippa’s work will be donated by Pippa and Imogen directly to her subjects. Imogen will also be donating proceeds from all sales from this exhibition to p:ear.

Denise Monaghan also brings a humanitarian element to the exhibition, portraying individuals who have and are contributing to global issues through their skills. Working in oil on linen she brings 8 portraits of people dedicating their lives to the betterment of the world. About this series she states: “Mostly, I want to connect and learn, and I hope the viewers will as well. I believe we have to look at our situation with open hearts and minds. We need to include nature, only then can things change. The people I have painted bring me hope, their work and words have helped me understand human nature. I now know that some people can be absolutely wonderful animals.”  Monaghan carefully creates composition in her  portraits , placing each of her subjects within the landscape relating to their work and vision.

Reed Clarke of Portland, Oregon has dedicated much of his career as a fine artist, painting others. Often his subjects are known literary greats. Clarke also creates his own characters, referencing people he’s observed in daily life while bringing in elements to create dynamic composition. Known for his skill as a painter and printmaker, he has had his work juried into Clatsop Community College’s, prestigious Au Naturel:  Nudes in the 21st Century exhibition several years running, receiving a first prize award as well as a purchase award from CCC.  His skill is apparent in the nuance of palette to create mood and emotion through an intimate look and consideration into another’s experience, perhaps with a goal of fostering greater understanding and acceptance of who we are. About his work Clarke states:
 “Faces and figures inhabit all my paintings and when I try to stray from this subject something I can’t resist always calls me back. In my work I hope to elicit a statement about being human that is familiar, and also seems impossible to say as clearly or completely in other mediums. When possible, I seek to emphasize the geometric shapes formed by different part of the composition and bring out the abstract surface rhythms of the composition. Ultimately however, I’m striving for a balance between recording a human subject that is compelling and creating a paint surface on the canvas that engages and rewards the viewer.”

We also welcome back the talented Amelia Santiago. Santiago who lives in Astoria is not new to Imogen, some may recall her incredible felted sculpture of our canine friends and other elaborate needle felted wool sculptural pieces. She balances her work as a fiber artist equally with her love of the painting process. After graduating from Pacific Northwest College of Art with a BFA in painting, Santiago traveled to Iceland where she became enamored with wool fiber, this led to a decade long career of creating 3-dimensional animal portraiture. Still, she never let the process of painting stray too far. About her work and processes she states: “I have been making art my entire life and I have always been drawn to the figure, both human and animal and often the two together. To me, painting a portrait is not only about the sitter but equally about the artist as well. I see myself in the images I make, and I think about the human condition. I think of our feelings about what is happening around us, our relationship to the other creatures we share this world with and our existence and effect on our environment. At the same time, I feel a portrait should be a work of art in itself. I love to push around paint, layer and build, sand and refine. I am enticed by realism but wild with color. I strive to create flow and depth and to think about light, shapes, and pattern. Most of all, when I paint portraits, I love that moment when the sitter comes alive, when the eyes begin to see things, I can’t see and don’t know and have feelings that are not mine.”  

Joining us for again this year is Ruth Shively, a Portland based artist. Typically drawn to imagery of women she portrays quiet resilience and an innate sense of strength and beauty. About her work she states: “I work largely with the figure, concentrating on women. In awe of the strength women behold, I feel the need to express their character through my work. I can’t explain how I choose my subjects, I go with my instinct and immediate feelings and drawn to stark, positive/negative space. I like humor, mysteriousness and intimate mood, wanting the viewer to make their own interpretation. I studied drawing and illustration in school but I’m a self-taught painter and prefer this medium as I love the spontaneity of the paint and using color to create space.” Shively, who grew up in the Midwest has lived in Paris, New York City, Minneapolis and now Portland. She has exhibited her work in numerous group and solo exhibitions that have taken her from Los Angeles to New York and many venues in between.

After a several year hiatus we are pleased to be welcoming back the exquisitely rendered work of Astoria artist, Timothy Peitsch. Peitsch has always focused on the portrayal of people in his work, quite often people who are close to him. His last solo show several years ago at Imogen was an impressive series of graphite portraits of historical individuals who somehow added to the lore of Astoria’s illustrious history. Peitsch has always enjoyed the challenge of portraiture, considering it the purest subject matter, the most recognizable. For him it’s an exploration of personality, with the goal of capturing something beyond the surface ad finding an understanding or hint of who someone is, not merely what they appear to be. About his work he states: “A portrait is the most enjoyable platform for me to work from. I’ve always loved the viewers reaction to them. It seems like everyone brings their own narrative and life experience to my portraits. Inevitably the viewers will begin to tell me stories about a person they knew or a personal experience they had. It’s always fascinating to me that a portrait will trigger those memories and emotions in a person.

We are also excited to welcome back the work of Astoria based painter and tattoo artist Aaron Toledo. Toledo who relocated to Astoria in 1999 from Kansas City owns and operates Keepsake Tattoo, our neighbors here on 11th Street. His small scale and intimate oil paintings explore the relationship between people and the space they occupy, “zooming in on moments as if they are memories, exploiting the perceptions that energize these small captures of time. “As a nonacademic artist his education and career in art has been far from traditional. About his paintings he states, “My work is inspired by the often overlooked and singularly unimportant candid moments, the spaces we live, our most boring days, the far reaches of the earth, bad storytelling and good mistakes.” With a muted palette and limited brushstroke, he brings moody and gestural imprint, or glimpses into people’s personal world, a direct look at reality of moment and fleeting honesty of contemplation.

All seven artists share a commonality of commitment and dedication to the somehow marginalized within their work. Each brings beauty, vulnerability and rawness, elements that live within all of us. The power of the individual shines bright through compassion for humanity. Facing you, we invite you to step inside. 

October 2022 Exhibit

October 2022 Exhibit
Michelle Muldrow
Spaces Between the Places that are Known
October 8 – November 7
We are excited to be hosting artist Michelle Muldrow and a new series of paintings for her first solo exhibition at Imogen. Her painting is a conceptual exploration of the American landscape, imbued by working history of the land she portrays. The exhibition opens during Astoria’s Second Saturday Artwalk, October 8. Muldrow will be in attendance during artwalk and available to answer questions about her work, 5 – 7:30 pm. The exhibition will remain on view through November 7. Also joining us for the evening will be the Horsenecks, comprised of Gabrielle Macrae on fiddle and Barry Southern on banjo, performing their Old Time and Blue Grass music from 5 – 7 pm.

Michelle Muldrow who is well versed in the arts, is a nationally recognized painter and singer/songwriter. She brings a new collection of paintings exploring the relationships between landscape, consumerism, historical aesthetic philosophy and personal narrative. Working in casein on panel with a muted palette, she applies philosophical ideas to American landscape painting, using historical precedents while considering the contemporary experience to reach an understanding of America. A sense of nostalgia marks her gestural style and sense of composition. Her chosen medium casein, is itself historical in nature being one of the original forms of paint, dating back to prehistoric times and utilized in early cave paintings. The medium, soft in tonality with a matte finish lends itself perfectly to her painting style, evoking a dreamlike imprint of memory.
Her subject matter has always been rooted in sense of place, known landforms, man-made landmarks make their way into composition. New to the Northwest, via Los Angeles she has shifted her focus in recent paintings to riverways, timber lands, landscape worked by time and mankind.

About her work, she states: “From macro to micro, I observe and absorb the landscape; from the broad strokes of the vistas that capture the incredible iconic images that define the Pacific Northwest to the small observations that tell the stories of the lives that live in this landscape. I search for the signifiers, the markers that set the region apart from any other place in the United States. As a child of a career military family, I moved all over the United States, developing a subconscious shorthand to recognize the differences from place to place. In my art practice, I study these small “tells”, elements that reflect a region, their priorities, the economy, the history, and the struggles. I first paint the broad strokes, the obvious, the iconographic, almost like a tourist, then follow the throughline, finding the clues that feel as potent as a symbol. I look for those repetitions that become like talisman, a repeating line in a poem. I investigate these empty landscapes, filled with signifiers, until I winnow it down to where the people interact with the landscape, searching, understanding, digging into the stories that are reflective of what captures the essence of a region. This is why I paint; to understand place and gain further understanding of what is this American landscape and American experience.”

Muldrow has exhibited her work extensively throughout the country, from New York to Los Angeles with many stops in between. She is a 2021 recipient of a Provincetown Art Museum/Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed Grant and has her work included to many private and corporate collections, including the Microsoft Corporate Art Collection, the Cleveland Clinic Art Collection, Gerard Louis-Dreyfus Art Collection, and many others.